Germany will shut down all its nuclear reactors by 2022 following a consensus reached to the effect by the ruling coalition partners in the government on Sunday night.
Out of the total 17 nuclear reactors, the government wants eight oldest reactors be permanently shut. Germany had shut down seven reactors in March, soon after the earth quake and Tsunami hit Fukushima in March. Only one reactor has stayed off the grid for years.
Six reactors will be shut down by 2021, said Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, early on Monday after late-night talks in the chancellor's office between leaders of the center-right coalition, reports Reuters.
The remaining there reactors, Germany's latest will remain open till 2022 as to ensure continuous power supply, he said.
In March, majority of voters had opposed atomic energy in Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel too backtracked on the unpopular decision to extend the life of some aging reactors.
Her Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) and junior coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP) met on Sunday after an ethics commission ended its deliberations early in the weekend.
It's definite: the latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022, Roettgen said after the meeting. There will be no clause for revision.
The FDP wanted a flexible decision, besides the option of bringing back at least one of the seven reactors in case of an emergency.
The coalition agreed to keep one of the older reactors as a cold reserve for 2013, if the transition to renewable energies cannot meet winter demand and if fossil fuels do not suffice to make up for a potential shortfall, the report stated.
The decision may still face possible opposition from the utility companies which run the 17 plants, mostly because of plans to keep a disputed nuclear fuel rod tax in tact.
The coalition wants to retain the tax, which was expected to raise 2.3 billion Euros ($3.29 billion) a year from this year, but so far has not been levied. With the immediate exit of eight plants, however, it will raise less than expected revenue for the government.